Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Kevin J. Whitaker, September 28, 2006

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:07 - Magoffin County roots

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Partial Transcript: This is Dale Johnson for Eastern Kentucky PRIDE Incorporated talking with Kevin Whitaker who's the ecology officer and the PRIDE coordinator in Magoffin County, Kentucky and today is Wednesday September 28th, 2006.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses his family's roots in Magoffin County. Whitaker also discusses his education at Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University.

Keywords: Ecology officers; PRIDE coordinators; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Puncheon Camp Creek (Ky.)

Subjects: Eastern Kentucky University; Magoffin County (Ky.); Morehead State University

00:02:47 - Youth involvement in PRIDE

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Partial Transcript: The, uh--when, when are you aware that the county first started using PRIDE projects?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses various groups that participate in PRIDE in Magoffin County. Whitaker talks about the success they've had getting youth involved in PRIDE, including the Envi Award-nominated PRIDE club at the high school.

Keywords: Campus cleanups; Churches; Educational grants; PRIDE clubs; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Roadside cleanups

Subjects: Children; Communities; Grants and funding; Schools; Teachers; Volunteer fire departments; Youth

00:07:09 - Dump cleanups

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Partial Transcript: Um, they give me this sheet of all the stuff they've done in each county, I don't know if you have one of these or not.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses some large dumps the county has cleaned up with PRIDE's help.

Keywords: Dump cleanups; Dumps; Illegal dumps; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE)

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Waste disposal sites

00:10:32 - Garbage collection

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Partial Transcript: I presume, like most counties, you probably had a landfill for a while.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses how garbage collection is handled in Magoffin County.

Keywords: Garbage collection; Garbage pickup; Landfills; Refuse pickup; Transfer stations; Trash collection; Trash pickup

Subjects: Franchises; Magoffin County (Ky.); Refuse and refuse disposal.; Refuse collection; Waste disposal sites

00:12:55 - Progress on illegal dumps / Hal Rogers' assistance

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Partial Transcript: While we're talking about dumps, do you ha--do you still have some? Has PRIDE asked you to like identify what you've got left?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses the progress made on cleaning up illegal dumps in Magoffin County, as well as the dumps that still remain. Whitaker and Johnson also discuss Hal Rogers and his contributions to Eastern Kentucky.

Keywords: Aerial tours; Community grants; Dumps; Hal Rogers; Illegal dumps; Rogers, Hal

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Grants and funding; Magoffin County (Ky.); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Rogers, Harold, 1937-; Waste disposal sites

00:16:00 - Household appliances

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Partial Transcript: So the, the, the dump situation is ongoing but no major dumps left and, I see where you've picked up some tires but it--that--it doesn't look to be as bad as some of the counties I've been in.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses tires being dumped, and how that's overshadowed by a much bigger issue in his county: household appliances.

Keywords: Dumps; Household appliance buybacks; Illegal dumps; White goods; White goods buybacks

Subjects: Discarded household appliances; Household appliances; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Tires; Waste disposal sites

00:21:17 - Garbage collection franchise

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Partial Transcript: Do you let people drop stuff like that off at the transfer station during the rest of the year?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses mandatory garbage collection in his county and the franchise that collects garbage.

Keywords: Garbage collection; Garbage pickup; Mandatory garbage collection; Refuse pickup; Transfer stations; Trash collection; Trash pickup

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Franchises; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Refuse collection

00:23:33 - People without garbage collection

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Partial Transcript: So, um, since you've had it that--mandatory that long, probably most of the county is on trash pickup now.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses how some people fall through the cracks and still haven't gotten garbage collection. Whitaker also discusses what these people likely do with their garbage.

Keywords: Dumps; Dumpsters; Garbage collection; Garbage pickup; Illegal dumps; Refuse pickup; Trash collection; Trash pickup

Subjects: Neighbors; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Refuse collection; Waste disposal sites

00:25:55 - Local politics

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Partial Transcript: How is your election going, by the way? You probably have a bunch of people come--up for--

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker and Johnson discuss local politics, including the election in Magoffin County and the smoking ban in Letcher County.

Keywords: Incumbents; Local politics; Magistrates; Smoking bans

Subjects: Elections; Environmental law.; Judges; Letcher County (Ky.); Local government; Magoffin County (Ky.); Minimum wage; Politics and government; Smoking

00:29:11 - Sewerage

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Partial Transcript: So I guess kind of what I'm interested in next would be the, uh, the septic systems and sewer, um--

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses septic systems and sewers in Magoffin County.

Keywords: Septic systems; Sewer; Straight pipes

Subjects: Advertising; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Magoffin County (Ky.); Plumbing.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Sewerage.; Water

00:31:50 - Spring and fall cleanups and Roadside PRIDE

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Partial Transcript: And um, how about cleanups? Do you do a spring and a fall?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses his spring and fall cleanups. Whitaker also discusses Roadside PRIDE and the celebrations that come with it.

Keywords: Celebrations; Cleanups; Cookouts; Fall cleanups; PRIDE cleanups; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Roadside PRIDE; Spring cleanups

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roadside litter; T-shirts; Waste disposal sites

00:35:33 - Dangerous litter

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Partial Transcript: And you've got such a wide age group on these cleanups and so many groups. What do you do? Do you--

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses finding needles and other dangerous things during cleanups.

Keywords: Cleanups; Litter cleanups; Needles; Rules; Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment, and Education (UNITE)

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Litter (Trash); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roadside litter; Syringes; Waste disposal sites

00:39:47 - Cleanup stories

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Partial Transcript: Can you think of any, um, things that happened at cleanups when you were looking at these groups or anything?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker tells a story about kids who were cleaning up roadside litter and discovered they had thrown some of it out.

Keywords: Cleanups; Dump cleanups; Dumps; Hal Rogers; Illegal dumps; Litter cleanups; Rogers, Hal

Subjects: Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Litter (Trash); Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roadside litter; Rogers, Harold, 1937-; Waste disposal sites

00:41:56 - Litter abatement

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Partial Transcript: Now I know that some, some counties have a, have a way to like give these church groups like some money or something.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses paying some volunteer groups using litter abatement funds. Whitaker also discusses the requirements for getting litter abatement funds.

Keywords: Litter abatement; Public roads; Volunteering

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Money; Payment; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Roads; Voluntarism; Volunteers; Waste disposal sites

00:44:33 - Change in attitudes

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Partial Transcript: Uh, have you seen, like a difference then, from when--when did you start your job?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses the difference he's seen in people's attitudes in Magoffin County.

Keywords: Attitudes; Recycling (Waste, etc.); Schools

Subjects: County government; Environmental education; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Local government; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.

00:46:02 - Recycling collection for businesses

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Partial Transcript: Do you have a recycle center?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses recycling in Magoffin County, including recycling collection for businesses in the city.

Keywords: Recycling centers; Recycling collection; Schools

Subjects: Environmental education.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Recycling (Waste, etc.); Refuse and refuse disposal.; Waste disposal sites

00:49:06 - Future recycling collection hopes

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Partial Transcript: You should be really proud of yourself, because a lot of people aren't anywhere close to recycling in their counties.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses his hopes for recycling collection around the county and in the schools in the future.

Keywords: PRIDE clubs; Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment (PRIDE); Recycling collection; Recycling pickup

Subjects: Elementary schools; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Recycling (Waste, etc.); Refuse and refuse disposal.; Schools

00:53:15 - Storage and funding for recycling

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Partial Transcript: A guy down in Harlan County had a--what sounded like a good idea, too.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker and Johnson discuss the potential for a multi-county recyclables storage facility. Whitaker and Johnson also discuss the need for more funding for recycling.

Keywords: Laurel Ridge (Ky.); Recyclables

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Recycling (Waste, etc.); Refuse and refuse disposal.; Storage facilities; Warehouses; Waste disposal sites

00:55:59 - Ecology officer job

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Partial Transcript: I, I'm--I think I'm pretty much running out of, uh, things to ask you.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses his job as Ecology Officer. Whitaker talks about what he does as Flood Plain Coordinator. Whitaker also discusses a group that cleans up the Licking River twice a year.

Keywords: Ecology officers; Flood plain coordinators; Flood plains; Jobs; River cleanups; Solid waste coordinators

Subjects: Careers; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Floodplains.; Licking River (Ky.); Magoffin County (Ky.); Occupations; Rivers

00:58:44 - Interesting river cleanup items / recreation

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Partial Transcript: I'm sure that--I'm sure they drag some awesome stuff out of there.

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses the types of items found during river cleanups. Whitaker also discusses the different recreation options on the Licking River. Johnson tells a story about a cleanup of the Green River.

Keywords: Canoes and canoeing; Dumps; Fishing; Household appliances; Illegal dumps; Refrigerators; Tires

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Licking River (Ky.); Pollution.; Recreation; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Waste disposal sites; Water quality.

01:02:41 - Improvements and enforcement

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Partial Transcript: Well I, I appreciate it. Is there anything else you'd like to add to the interview?

Segment Synopsis: Whitaker discusses improvements around the county. Whitaker also discusses enforcement of laws against dumping.

Keywords: Dumps; Enforcement; Illegal dumps; Improvements; Parenting; Surveillance cameras

Subjects: Children; Electronic surveillance; Environmental education.; Environmental law.; Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Law enforcement; Litter (Trash); Parents; Pollution.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Waste disposal sites